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BOOK OF EXODUS

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Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 76 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BOOK OF EXODUS, in the Bible, a book of the Old Testament which derives its name, through the Greek, from the event which forms the most prominent feature of the history it narrates, viz. the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Strictly speaking, however, this title is applicable to the first half only, the historical portion of the book, and takes no account of thosechapters which describe the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai, nor of those which deal with the Tabernacle and its furniture. By the Jews it is usually styled after its opening words nine ay mi (We'eleh Shemoth) or, more briefly, "oii (Shemoth). In its present form the book sets forth (a) the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt (ch. i.), (b) the birth and education of Moses, and his flight to the land of Midian (ch. ii.), (c) the theophany at Mt. Horeb (the Burning Bush), and the subsequent commission of Moses and Aaron (iii. 1-iv. 17), (d) the return of Moses to Egypt, and his appeal to Pharaoh which results in the further oppression of Israel (iv. 18-vii. 7), (e) the plagues of Egypt (vii. 8-xi. so), (f) the institution of the Passover and of the Feast of Unleavened Cakes, the last plague, and Israel's departure from Egypt (xii. s-xiii. 16), (g) the crossing of the Red Sea and the discomfiture of the Egyptians, the Song of Triumph, the sending of the manna and other incidents of the journeying through the wilderness (xiii. 17-xviii. 27), (h) the giving of the Law, including the Decalogue and the so-called Book of the Covenant, on Sinai-Horeb (xix.-xxiv.), (i) directions for the building of the Tabernacle and for the consecration of the priests (xxv.-xxxi.), (j) the sin of the Golden Calf, and another earlier version of the first legislation (xxxii.-xxxiv.), (k) the construction of the Tabernacle and its erection (xxxv.-xl.). The book of Exodus, however, like the other books of the Hexateuch, is a composite work which has passed, so to speak, through many editions; hence the order of events given above cannot lay claim to any higher authority than that of the latest editor. Moreover, the documents from which the book has been compiled belong to different periods in the history of Israel, and each of them, admittedly, reflects the standpoint of the age in which it was written. Hence it follows that the contents of the book are not of equal historical value; and though the claim of a passage to be considered historical is not necessarily determined by the age of the source from which it is derived, yet, in view of the known practice of Hebrew writers, greater weight naturally attaches to the earlier documents in those cases in which the sources are at variance with one another. Any attempt, there-fore, at restoring the actual course of history must be preceded by an inquiry into the source of the various, contents of the book. The sources from which the book of Exodus has been compiled are the same as those which form the basis of the book of Genesis, while the method of composition is very similar. Here, too, the strongly marked characteristics of P, or the Priestly Document, as opposed to JE, enable us to determine the extent of that document with comparative ease; but the absence, in some cases, of conclusive criteria prevents any final judgment as to the exact limits of the two strands which have been united in the composite JE. The latter statement applies especially to the legislative portions of the book: in the historical sections the separation of the two sources gives rise to fewer difficulties. It does not, however, lie within the scope of the present article to examine the various sources underlying the narrative with any minuteness, but rather to sum up those results of modern criticism which have been generally accepted by Old Testament scholars. To this end it will be convenient to treat the subject-matter of the book under three main heads: (a) the historical portion (ch. i.-xviii.), (b) the sections dealing with the giving of the Law (xix.-xxiv., xxxii.-xxxiv.). and (c) the construction of the Tabernacle and its furniture (xxv.-xxxi., xxxv.-xl.). (a) Israel in Egypt and the Exodus (ch. i.–xviii.). (1) i. 1–vii. 13. —The analysis of these chapters shows that the history, in. the main, has been derived from the two sources J and E, chiefly the former, and that a later editor has included certain passages from P, besides introducing a slight alteration of the original order and other redactional changes. The combined narrative of JE sets forth the rise of a new king in Egypt, who endeavoured to check the growing strength of the children of Israel; it thus prepares the way for the birth of Moses, his early life in Egypt, his flight to Midian and marriage with Zipporah, the theophany at Mt. Horeb, and his divine commission to deliver Israel from Egypt. At the very outset the two sources betray their divergent origin and point of view. According to J (i. 6, 8-12, 2ob) the Israelites dwell apart in the province of Goshen, and their numbers become so great as to call for severe measures of repression, the method employed being that of forced labour. E, on the other hand (i. 15-2oa, 21, 22), represents them as living among the Egyptians, and so few in number that two midwives satisfy their requirements. It is to this latter source that we owe the account of the birth of Moses and of his education at the court of Pharaoh (ii. i-Io). On reaching manhood Moses openly displays his sympathy with his brethren by slaying an Egyptian, and has, in consequence, to flee to Midian, where he marries Zipporah, the daughter of the priest of Midian (ii, 11-22). In this section the editor has undoubtedly made use of the parallel narrative of J, though it is impossible to determine the exact point at which J's account is introduced : certainly ii. 15b-22 belong to that source.' The narrative of the call of Moses is by no means uniform, and shows obvious traces of twofold origin (J iii. 2-4a, 5, 7, 8, 16-18; iv. 1-12 (13-16), 29-31; E iii. 1, 4b, 6, 9-14, 21, 22; iv. 17, 18, lob, 27, 28). These two sources present striking points of difference, which reappear in the subsequent narrative. According to E, Moses with Aaron is to demand from Pharaoh the release of Israel, which will be effected in spite of his opposition; in assurance thereof the promise is given that they shall serve God upon this mountain; moreover, the people on their departure are to borrow raiment and jewels from their Egyptian neighbours. According to J, on the other hand, the spokesmen are to be Moses and the elders; and their request is for a temporary departure only, viz. " three days' journey into the wilderness "; their departure from Egypt is a hurried one. Yet another difficulty, which disappears as soon as the composite character of the narrative is recognized, is that of the signs. In J three signs are given for the purpose of reassuring Moses, only one of which is wrought with the rod (iv. 1-9), but in iv. 17 (E) the reference is clearly to entirely different signs, probably the plagues of Egypt, which according to E were invariably wrought by " the rod of God." Further, it is question-able if the passage iv. 13-16 really forms part of the original narrative of J, and is not rather to be ascribed to the redactor of JE. The name of Aaron has certainly been introduced by a later hand in J's account of the plague of frogs (viii. 12), and the only passage in J in which Aaron is represented as taking an active part is iv. 29-31, where the mention of his name causes no little difficulty.' In E, on the other hand, Aaron is sent by God to meet Moses at Mt. Horeb, after the latter had taken leave of Jethro, and, later on, accompanies him into the presence of Pharaoh. The succeeding narrative (v. 1–vi. I) is mainly taken from J, though E's account of the first interview with Pharaoh has been partially retained in v. 1, 2, 4. Moses and the elders ask leave to go three days' journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to Yahweh, a request which is met by an increase of the burdensome work of brick-making: henceforward the Israelites have to provide their own straw. The people complain bitterly to Moses, who appeals to Yahweh and is assured by him of the future deliverance of Israel " by a strong hand." With the exception of the genealogical list (i. 1-5) and the brief notices of the increase of Israel (i. 7) and of its oppression at the hands of the Egyptians (i. 13, 14; ii. 23b-25), the narrative so far exhibits no traces of P 3. But in vi. 2–vii. 13 we are confronted with a narrative which carries us back to ii. 23b-25 and gives practically a parallel account to that of JE in ch. iii.–v. Thus the revelation of the divine name, vi.2f., finds its counterpart in iii. 'of., the message to be delivered to Israel (vi. 6 f.) is very similar to that of ch. iii. 16 f., while the demand which is to be addressed to Pharaoh is identical The fact that the father-in-law of Moses is called Reuel in v. 18, as contrasted with the name Jethro, which occurs in iii. i f. and in all subsequent passages from E, cannot be taken as conclusive on this-point, since critics are agreed that " Reuel " in this verse is a later addition: had it been original we should have expected the name to be given at v. i6 rather than at v. 18. But, if no argument can be based on the discrepancy between the two names, we may at least assume that the namelessness of the priest in v. 16 f. points to a different source for those verses from that of iii. i f. Elsewhere J speaks of " Hobab, the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law " (Num. x. 29) ; the addition, " the priest of Midian," only occurs in the (secondary) passages iii. I, xviii. i (E). Probably RJE omitted the name in ii. 16 and added " the priest of Midian " in iii. i, xviii i, from harmonizing motives. Further, vv. 15B-22 speak of one son being born to Moses at this period, a statement which is borne out by iv. 20, 25 (" sons " in iv. 20 is obviously a correction), whereas ch. xviii. (E) mentions two sons. The original order of events in j seems to have been as follows: after the death of Pharaoh (ii. 23a; the Septuagint repeats this notice before iv. 19) Moses returns to Egypt with his wife and son (iv. 19, 20) in obedience to Yahweh's command. On the way he is seized with a sudden illness, which Zipporah attributes to the fact that he has not been circumcised and seeks to avert by circumcising her son (iv. 24-26). The scene of the theophany, therefore, according to J, is to be placed on the way from Midian to Goshen. Probably the displacement of iv. 19, 20, 24-26 is due to the editor of JE, who was thus enabled to combine the two narratives of the theophany. E Cf. iv. 30; Aaron had received no command to do the signs, and the words " and he did the signs " are most naturally referred to Moses. 3 The expansion in iii. 8c, 15, 17b; iv. 22, 23, are probably the work of a Deuteronomistic redactor.with that which had been already refused in ch. v. No allusion, however, is made by Moses to this previous demand; he merely urges the same objection as that put forward in iv. to f. With the resumption' of the story in vi. 28 f. Moses reiterates his objection, and is told that Aaron shall be his " prophet " and speak for him, and shall also perform the sign of the rod (cf. iv. 2-4). The sign, however, has no effect on Pharaoh (vii. 13), and we thus reach the same point in the narrative as at vi. 1. Apart from the literary characteristics which clearly differentiate this narrative from the preceding accounts of J and E, the following points of variation are worthy of consideration: (I) The people refuse to listen to Moses; (2) Aaron is appointed to be Moses' spokesman, not with the people, but with Pharaoh; (3) one sign is given (not three) and performed before Pharaoh; (4) the rod is turned into a reptile (tannin), not a serpent (nahash). (2) vii. 14–xi. Io. The First Plagues of Egypt.—In this section the analysis again reveals three main sources, which are clearly marked off from one another both by their linguistic features and by their difference of representation. The principal source is J, from which are derived six plagues, viz. killing of the fish in the river (vii. 14, 16, 17a, 18, 21a, 24, 25), frogs (viii. 1-4, 8-15a), insects (viii. 20-32), murrain (ix. 1.7), hail (ix. 13-18, 23b, 24b, 25b-34), locusts (x. Ia, 3-11, 13b, 14b, 15a, c-19, 24-26, 28, 29), the threat to slay all the first-born (xi. 4-8). The most striking characteristic of this narrative is that the plagues are represented as mainly due to natural causes and follow a natural sequence. Thus Yahweh smites the river so that the fish die and render the water undrinkable. This is succeeded by a plague of frogs. The swarms of flies and insects, which next appear, are the natural outcome of the decaying masses of frogs, and these, in turn, would form a natural medium for the spread of cattle disease. Destructive hailstorms, again, though rare, are not unknown in Egypt, while the locusts are definitely stated to have been brought by a strong east wind. Other distinctive features of J's narrative are: (I) Moses alone is bidden to interview Pharaoh (vii. 14 f.; viii. i f., 20 f.; ix. i f., 13 f.; x. i f.); (2) on each occasion he makes a formal' demand; (3) on Pharaoh's refusal the plague is announced, and takes place at a fixed time without any human intervention; (4) when the plague is sent, Pharaoh sends for Moses and entreats his intercession, promising in most cases to accede in part to his request; when the plague is removed, however, the promise is left unfulfilled, the standing phrase being " and Pharaoh's heart was heavy (-I»), " or " and Pharaoh made heavy (Tan) his heart "; (5) the plagues do not affect the children of Israel in Goshen. E's account (water turned into blood, vii. 15, 17b, lob, 23; hail, ix. 22, 23a, 24a, 25a, 35; locusts, X. 12, 13a, 14a, 15b) is more fragmentary, having been doubtless superseded in most cases by the fuller and more graphic narrative of j, but the plague of darkness (x. 20-23, 27) is found only in this source. As contrasted with j the narrative emphasizes the miraculous character of the plagues. They are brought about by " the rod of God," which Moses wields, the effect being instantaneous and all-embracing. The Israelites are represented as living among the Egyptians, and enjoy no immunity from the plagues, except that of darkness. Their departure from Egypt is deliberate; the people have time to borrow raiment and jewels from their neighbours. E regularly uses the phrase " and Pharaoh's heart was strong (pm)," or "and Yahweh made strong (p'rn) Pharaoh's heart " and " he would not let the children of Israel (or, them) go." In the priestly narrative (P) the plagues assume the form of a trial of skill between Aaron, who acts at Moses' command, and the Egyptian magicians, and thus connect with vii. 8-13. The magicians succeed in turning the Nile water into blood (vii. 19, 20a, 21b, 22), and in bringing up frogs (viii. 5-7), but they fail to bring forth lice (viii. 15b-19), and are themselves smitten with boils (ix. 8-12) : the two last-named plagues have no parallel either in J or E. Throughout the P sections Aaron is associated with Moses, and the regular command given to the latter is " Say unto Aaron ": no demand is ever made to Pharaoh, and the description of the plague is quite short. The formula employed by P is " and Pharaoh's heart was strong (pm)," or, " and Pharaoh made strong (p'm) his heart," as in E, but it is distinguished from E's phrase by the addition of " and he hearkened not unto them as Yahweh had spoken." (3) xii. i-xiii. 16. The Last Plague, the Deliverance from Egypt, the Institution of the Passover and of the Feast of Unleavened Cakes, the Consecration of the First-born.—This section presents the usual phenomena of a composite narrative, viz. repetitions and inconsistencies. Thus J's regulations for the Passover (xii. 21-23, 27b) seem at first sight simply to repeat the commands given to Moses and Aaron in xii. 1-13 (P), but in reality they area parallel and divergent account. In vv. 1-13 the choice of the lamb and the manner in which it is to be eaten constitute the essential feature, the smearing with the blood being quite secondary; in vv. 21 f. the latter point is all-important, and no regulations are given for the paschal meal (which, possibly, formed no part of J's original account). Similarly the institution of the Feast of Mazzoth, or Unleavened Cakes (xiii. 3-I0J), does not form the sequel to the regulations laid down in xii. ' The genealogy of Moses and Aaron (vv. 14-27) appears to be a later addition. 14-20 (P), but is independent of them: it omits all reference to the " holy convocations " and to the abstinence from labour, and is obviously simpler and more primitive. J's account, again, makes important exceptions (xiii. 11-13) to the severe enactment of P with reference to the first-born (xiii. I). The description of the smiting of the first-born of Egypt is derived from J (xii. 29-34, 37-39), who clearly sees in the Feast of Matzoth a perpetual reminder of the haste with which the Israelites fled from Egypt; the editor of JE, however, has included some extracts from E (xii. 31, 35, 36), which point to a more deliberate departure. The section has been worked over by a Deuteronomistic editor, whose hand can be clearly traced in the additions xii. 24-27a; xiii. 3b, 5, 8, 9, 14-16. (4) xiii. 17-xv. 21. The Crossing of the Red Sea.—According to J the children of Israel departed from Egypt under the guidance of Yahweh, who leads them by day in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire (xiii. 21, 22). On hearing of their flight Pharaoh at once starts in pursuit. The Israelites, terrified by the approach of the Egyptians, upbraid Moses, who promises them deliverance by the hand of Yahweh (xiv. 5, 6,-7b, Ioa, 11-14, 19b). Yahweh then causes a strong east wind to blow all that night, which drives back the waters from the shallows, and so renders it possible for the host of Israel to cross over. The Egyptians follow, but the progress of their chariots is hindered by the soft sand, and i,n the morning they are caught by the returning waters (xiv. 21b, 24, 25, 27b, 28b, 30). The story, however, has been combined with the somewhat different account of E, which doubtless covered the same ground, and also with that of P. According to the former, Elohim did not permit the Israelites to take the shorter route to Canaan by the Mediterranean coast, for fear of the Philistines, but led them southwards to the Red Sea, whither they were pursued by the Egyptians (xiii. 17-19). The remainder of E's account has only been preserved in a fragmentary form (xiv. 7aa, lob, 15a, 19a, 2oa), from which it may be gathered that Moses divided the waters by stretching out his rod, thus presupposing that the crossing took place by day, and that the dark cloud which divided the two hosts was miraculously caused by the angel of God. P also represents the sea as divided by means of Moses' rod, but heightens the effect by describing the crossing as taking place between walls of water (xiii. 20; xiv. 1-4, 8, 9, 15b, 16b-18, 21a, c, 22, 23, 26, 27a, 28a, 29). J's version of the Song of Moses probably does not extend beyond xv. 1, and has its counterpart in the very similar song of Miriam (E), in vv. 20, 21. The rest of the song (vv. 2-18) is probably the work of a later writer; for these verses set forth not only the deliverance from Egypt, but also the entrance of Israel into Canaan (vv. 13-17), and further presuppose the existence of the temple (vv. 13b, 17b). These phenomena have been explained as due to later expansion, but the poem has all the appearance of being a unity, and the language, style and rhythm all point to a later age. Verse 19 is probably the work of the redactor (RP) who inserted the song. (5) xv. 22-xviii. 27. Incidents in the Wilderness.—The narrative of the first journeying in the wilderness (xv. 22-xvii. 7) presents a series of difficulties which probably owe their origin to the editorial activity of RP, who appears to have transferred to the beginning of the wanderings a number of incidents which rightly belong to the end. The concluding verses of ch. xv. contain J's account of the sweetening of the waters of Marah, with which has been incorporated a fragment of E's story of Massah (xv. 25b) and a Deuteronomic expansion in v. 26. Then follows (ch. xvi.) P's version of the sending of the manna.and quails. In its present form, this narrative contains a number of conflicting elements, which can only be the result of editorial activity. Thus vv. 6, 7 mush originally have preceded vv. 11, 12, though the redactor has attempted to evade the difficulty by inserting v. 8. Again, the account of the quails, which is obviously incomplete, is undoubtedly derived from Num. xi.; but the latter account, which admittedly belongs to JE, places the incident at the end of the wanderings. Closer examination also of P's narrative of the manna shows that its true• position is after the departure from Mt. Sinai; cf. the expressions used in vv. 9, 10, 33, 34, implying the existence of the ark and the tabernacle. P's account of the manna, however, can hardly have stood originally in close juxtaposition with his account of the quails (cf. Num. xi. 6), but the two narratives were probably combined by RP before they were transferred to their present position. The same redactor doubtless added v. 8 (and possibly vv. 17, 18) by way of explanation, and vv. 5 and 22-30, which imply that the law of the Sabbath was already known, and introduce a fresh element into the story. A plausible ex-planation of RP's action is supplied by the theory that an earlier account of the giving of the manna already existed at this point of the narrative. We know from Deuteronomy viii. 2 f., 16 that JE contained an account of the manna, which included the explanation of Ex. xvi. 15, and also emphasized, as the motive for the gift, Yahweh's desire " to prove thee (i.e. test thy disposition) . whether thou wouldst keep his commandments, or no." Fragments of this early story of Massah (testing) were incorporated by RP in his story of the manna and the quails, viz. xv. 25b; xvi. 4, 15, 16a, 19b-21. These verses must be assigned to E, for in xvii. 3, 2C (wherefore do ye tempt the Lord ?), 7a (to Massah), c (because they tempted . . ., &c.), we find yet another version (J) of the same incident, according to which the people tempted (tested) Yahweh. It was owing to the combination of this latter account with E'sfurther description of the striving of the people for water at Meribah that the double name Massah-Meribah arose, xvii. lb-7 (la belongs to P), though Deut. xxxiii. 8 makes it clear that Massah and Meribah were separate localities (cf. Deut. ix. 22, 2 f., 16, where Massah occurs alone) : P's version of striving at Meribah, in which traces of J's account have been preserved, is given at Num. xx. 1-13. xvii. 8-i6. The Battle with Amalek at Rephidim.—This incident is derived from E, but is clearly out of place in its present context. Its close connexion with the end of the wanderings is shown by (a) the description of Moses as an infirm old man; (b) the role played by Joshua in contrast with xxiv. 13, xxxiii. II, where he is introduced as a young man and Moses' minister; and (c) the references elsewhere to the home of the Amalekites: according to Num. xiii.-29, xiv. 25, xliii. 45, they dwelt in the S. or S.W. of Judah near Kadesh (cf. I Sam. xv. 6 f., 30; Gen. xiv. 7; xxxvi. 12). Ch. xviii. The visit of Jethro to Moses and the appointment of judges. —This story, like the preceding one, is mainly derived from E and is also out of place. Allusions in the chapter itself point unmistakably to a time just before the departure from Sinai-Horeb, and this date is confirmed both by Deut. i. 9-16 and by the parallel account of J in Num. x. 29-32. The narrative, however, displays signs of compilation, and it is not improbable that R; has incorporated in vv. 7-II part of J's account of the visit of Moses' father-in-law (cf. the use of Yahweh). (b) Ch. xix.-xxiv., xxxii., xxxiv.—The contents of these chapters, which, owing to their contents, form the most important section in the book of Exodus, may be briefly analysed as follows. In ch. xix. we have a twofold description of the theophany on Mt. Sinai (or Horeb), followed by the Decalogue in xx. 1-17. Alongside of this code we find another, dealing in part with the civil and social (xxi. 2-xxii. 17), in part with the religious life of Israel, the so-called Book of the Covenant, xx. 22-xxiii. 19. Ch. xxiv. contains a composite narrative of the ratification of the covenant. In chs. xxxii. and xxxiii. we have again two narratives of the sin of the people and of Moses' intercession, while in ch. xxxiv. we are confronted with yet another early code, which is practically identical with the religious enactments of xx. 22-26; xxii. 29, 30; xxiii.10-19. With but few exceptions the provenance of the individual sections may be said to have been finally determined by the labours of the critics, but even a cursory examination of their contents makes it evident that the sequence of events, which they now present, cannot be original, but is rather the outcome of a long process of revision,., during which the text has suffered considerably from alterations, omissions, dislocations and additions. Yet owing to the method of composition employed by Hebrew editors, or revisers, it is possible in this case, as in others; not only to determine the source of each individual passage, but also to trace with considerable confidence the various stages in the process by which it reached its final form and position. It must, however, be admitted that the evidence at our disposal is, in some cases, capable of more than one interpretation. Hence a final conclusion can hardly be expected, but with certain modifications in detail the following solution of the problem may be accepted as representing the point of view of recent criticism. Ch. xix. contains two parallel accounts of the theophany on Horeb-Sinai, from E and J respectively, which differ materially from one another. According to the former, Moses is instructed by God (Elohim) to sanctify the people against the third day (vv. 9a, to, IIa). This is done and the people are brought by Moses to the foot of the mountain (Horeb), where they hear the divine voice (14-17, 19). A noticeable feature of this narrative, of which xx. 18-21 forms a natural continuation, is the fact that the theophany is addressed to the people, who are too frightened to remain near the mountain itself. In J, on the other hand, it is the priests who are sanctified, and great care must be taken to prevent the people from " breaking through to gaze " (20-22). In this account the mountain is called " Sinai " throughout, and " Yahweh " appears instead of " Elohim " (I lb, 18, 20 f.). Moreover, Moses and Aaron and the priests are summoned to the top of the mount (in v. 24b render " thou and Aaron with thee, and the priests: but let not the people," &c.). Vv. 3b-8, which have been expanded by a Deuteronomic editor, have been transferred from their original context after xx. 21; the introductory verses 1, 2a form part of P's itinerary. Of the succeeding legislation in xx.-xxiii., xxxii.-xxxiv., undoubtedly the earlier sections are xx. 22-26; xxii. 29, 30; xxiii. 10-19, and xxxiv. 10-26, which contain regulations with regard to worship and religious festivals, and form the basis of the covenant made by Yahweh with Israel on Sinai-Horeb, as recorded by E and J respectively. The narrative which introduces the covenant laws of J has been preserved partly in its present context, ch. xxxiv., partly in xxiv. 1, 2, 9-II; the narrative of E, on the other hand, has in part disappeared owing to the interpolation of later material, in part has been retained in xxiv. 3-8. J's narrative xxiv. I f., 9-11 clearly forms the continuation of xix. 20 f., IIb, 13, 25, but the introductory words of v. 1, " and unto Moses he said," point to some omission. Originally, no doubt, it included the recital of the divine instructions to the people in accordance with xix. 21 f., IIb-13, the statement that Yahweh came down on the third day, and that a long blast was blown on the trumpet (or ram's horn [5;i, as opposed to ED). From xxiv. I f. we learn that Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the .elders were summoned to the top of the mountain, but that Moses alone was permitted to approach Yahweh. Then followed the theophany, and, as the text stands, the sacrificial meal (9-11).1 The conclusion of J's narrative is given in ch. xxxiv.,2 which describes how Moses hewed two tables of stone at Yahweh's command, and went up to the top of the mountain, where he received the words of the covenant and wrote them on the tables. As it stands, however, this chapter represents the legislation which it contains as a renewal of a former covenant, also written on tables. of stone, which had been broken (ib, 4a). But the document from which the chapter, as a whole, is derived, is certainly J, while the previous references to tables of stone and to Moses' breaking them belong to the parallel narrative of E. Moreover, the covenant here set forth (v. 10 f.) is clearly a new one, and contains no hint of any previous legislation, nor of any breach of it by the people. In view of these facts we are forced to conclude that ib (" like unto the first . . brakest "), 4a (" and he hewed . . . the first ") and v. 28 (" the ten words ") formed no part of the original narrative,' but were inserted by a later Deuteronomic redactor. In the view of this editor the Decalogue alone formed the basis of the covenant at Sinai-Horeb, and in order to retain J's version, he represented it as a renewal of the tables of stone which Moses had broken.' The legislation contained in xxxiv. 10-26, which may be described as the oldest legal code of the Hexateuch, is almost entirely religious. It prohibits the making of molten images (v. 17), the use of leaven in sacrifices (25a), the retention of the sacrifice until the morning (25b),' and the seething of a kid in its mother's milk (26b) ; and enjoins the observance of the three annual feasts and the Sabbath (18a, 21-23), and the dedication of the first-born (19, 20, derived from xiii, 11-13) and of the first-fruits (26a). The parallel collection of E is preserved in xx. 24-26, xxiii. 10-19, to which we should probably add xxii. 29-31 (for which xxiii. 19a was afterwards substituted). The two collections resemble. one another so closely, both in form and extent, that they can only be regarded as two versions of the same code. E has, however, pre-served certain additional regulations with regard to the building of altars (xx. 24-26) and the observance of the seventh year (xxiii. 10, i1), and omits the prohibition of molten images (xx. 22, 23, appear to be the work of a redactor) ; xxiii. 20-33, the promises attached to the observance of the covenant, probably formed no part of the original code, but were added by the Deuteronomic redactor; cf. especially vv. 23-25a, 27, 28, 3ib-33. The narrative of E relative to the delivery of these laws has disappeared,6 but xxiv. 3-8 (which manifestly have no connexion with their immediate context) clearly point back to some such narrative. These verses describe how Moses wrote all the words of the Lord in a book and recited them to the people (v. 7) as the basis of a coverw.nt, which was solemnly ratified by the sprinkling of the blood of the accompanying sacrifices. In the existing text the covenant laws of E (xx. 24-26, xiii. 29-31, xxiii. 10-19) are combined with a mass of civil and other legislation; hence the title " Book of the Covenant " (referred to above, xxiv. 7) has usually been applied to the whole section, xx. 22—xxiii. 33. But this section includes three distinct elements:. (a) the ".words " (o'l»a) found in xx. 24-26, xiii. 29-31, xxiii. I-1o; (b) the " judgments " (mamba), xxi. 2—xxii. 17; and (c) a group of moral and ethical enactments, xxii. 18-28, xxiii. 1-9; and an examination of their contents makes it evident that, though the last two groups are unmistakably derived from E, they cannot have formed part of the original " Book of the Covenant "; for the " judgments, which are expressed in a hypothetical form, consist of a number of legal decisions on points of civil law. The cases dealt with fall into five divisions: (I) The rights of slaves, xxi. 2-11; (2) capital offences, xxi. 12-16 (v. 17 has probably been added later) ; (3) injuries inflicted by man or beast, xxi. 18-32; (4) losses incurred by culpable negligence or theft, xxi. 33—xiii. 6; (5) cases arising out of deposits, loans, seduction, xxii. 7-17. It is obvious, from their very nature, that these legal precedents could not have been included in the covenant which the people (xxiv. 3) promised to observe, and it is 1 Unless we follow Riedel and read simply " and worshipped " (ennrr"l) instead of " and drank (lawnn) treating " and ate " (fairer) as a later addition; cf. HDB, extra vol. p. 631 note. 2 Vv. 6-9 are out of place here: they belong to the story of Moses' intercession in ch. xxxiii. ' This view is confirmed by (a) a comparison of v. ib (". and I will write ") with vv. 27, 28; according to the latter, Moses wrote the words of the covenant; and (b) the tardy mention of Moses in 4b; the name would naturally be given at the beginning of the verse. ' Others suppose that the present position of ch. xxxiv. is due, in the first instance, to RJE, but in view of the other Deuteronomic expansions in vv. lob-16, 23, 24, it is more probable that J's version was discarded by RJE in favour of E's, and was afterwards restored by RD. Reading " the sacrifice of my feasts " for " the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover." 6 Unless, with Bacon, we are to regard xxiv. 12-14, i8b as original. More probably a later editor has worked up old material of E (of which there are unmistakable traces) in order to include the whole of xx.-xxiii. in the covenant: xxiv. 15-18a are an addition from P.
End of Article: BOOK OF EXODUS
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